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160308-0040 - Metropolitan Bishop Sergius


Tokyo Meiji 1900s Sankobo Studio

Metropolitan bishop Sergius (府主教セルギイ, 1871–1945), bishop of the Orthodox Eastern Church who spent most of his episcopate in Japan (1908–1945), ca. 1909 (Meiji 42). His secular name was Georgiy Alexeyevich Tikhomirov.

Sergius was crucial to the survival of the Japanese Orthodox Church during it most challenging times in the first half of the 20th century.

He helped the church survive after all its funding was lost because of the Russian Revolution of 1917 (Taisho 6).

After the Tokyo Resurrection Cathedral in Tokyo was destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 (Taisho 12), Sergius was the central figure making it possible that the cathedral was rebuilt by 1929 (Showa 4).

In 1940 (Showa 15), Sergius had to step down as head of the Japanese Orthodox Church because the nationalist government required that all ruling clergy in Japanese religious organizations were native.

He was arrested in 1945 (Showa 20) on suspicion of being a Soviet Russian spy by the Kenpeitai (憲けん兵ぺい隊たい), the brutal military police arm of the Imperial Japanese Army.

When he was finally released his health had deteriorated greatly. He died on August 10, 1945, just five days before the end of World War II.

Kjeld Duits Collection
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